Doubts have emerged over whether all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be able to play the next two or three matches for India after he suffered an ankle injury.
India may have to go without the all-rounder for their important game against world champions England on 29 October in Lucknow city. Pandya may have to skip the next two or three matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 as well, a source from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said.
The star cricketer suffered an ankle injury while bowling against Bangladesh. He was sent for scans and has since been under the care of the BCCI’s doctors at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
India, the hosts of the World Cup 2023, have won all five games in the tournament and are the only unbeaten side that already have a leg in the semi-finals.
The side can afford to rest Pandya for the next two games at least, which will allow the all-rounder to recover fully before the knock-out round.
“Hardik is still under medication. While the swelling on his left ankle has subsided considerably, he will start bowling only towards the weekend. Right now, important is to give him time to recover,” the BCCI source told news agency PTI.
“Pandya has suffered a bad sprain but fortunately not a fracture. The BCCI medical team wants to take maximum precautions. He is likely to miss the next two to three matches. The team wants him fully fit for the knock-out stage.”
After the Bangladesh match, India captain Rohit Sharma said there was “no major damage” to Pandya. The all-rounder subsequently missed India’s match against New Zealand.
To make up for Pandya’s all-round skills, India drafted Suryakumar Yadav and replaced Shardul Thakur with Mohammed Shami against New Zealand.
While Virat Kohli ran Suryakumar for two runs, Shami, playing his first game of World Cup 2023, bowled a match-winning spell and became the first ever Indian bowler to claim two five-wicket hauls in a 50-over World Cup.
With the Lucknow track expected to be slightly inclined to spinners, Team India could opt to bring in Ravichandran Ashwin instead of Shami. The move would also provide an extra batting cushion down the order.
India is at the top of the World Cup 2023 table with 10 points.
After the England game, the side is due to take on Sri Lanka on 2 November at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.